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Third Dialogue Session in Washington, D.C.

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The dialogue forum among the Andean countries (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela), and the United States held its third meeting Sept. 30-Oct. 1, 2010, in Washington, D.C. The meeting was structured in the following way:

Day 1: Separate meetings of the Andean-U.S. Dialogue Forum's thematic working groups were held with U.S.-based actors from think tanks and the U.S. Congress to exchange views and information on inclusive development, climate change, drugs and organized crime, and role of the media in intercountry relations.

The Andean-U.S. Dialogue Forum meets with President Carter for the third dialogue session in Washington D.C. All photos: The Carter Center.

Day 2:  Dialogue sessions were held with the Andean and U.S. members to analyze the draft report Toward a Common Agenda (PDF) and prepare messages for Washington audiences and the Andean governments. The report was seen as a tool for the forum to help prevent a simplistic "us vs. them" perspective, persuade opinion-makers about why the United States should care about the Andean region and vice-versa, to demonstrate why the Andean countries should care about each other, and to describe how it is possible to improve relations and cooperation by identifying common ground among them and showing progress within the six countries. During the meeting, the report was analyzed by all members and consensus was built around the recommendations for the governments and key sectors in the six countries. Some initial recommendations included:

  • A diversified agenda beyond drugs and security is needed, with a focus on social issues.
  • The United States needs to recognize efforts in the Andes to protect the well-being of all citizens without exclusion. The United States should acknowledge the efforts toward social progress and reducing inequities being carried out in the Andes, and the commitment to democracy outlined in the Democratic Charter of the OAS signed by all countries. All countries should work through multilateral institutions to defend and promote democracy.
  • Andeans should better understand U.S. political processes, and recognize significant changes and challenges in the United States (election of biracial president, but also growing polarization) and diversity in U.S. society, and the current efforts to transcend the mistakes of the past.

Forum members analyzed how to use lobbying and advocacy to strategically promote proposals that are developed by the forum. This analysis was further nurtured by an exposition on lobbying and advocacy by a Washington expert.

Dr. Jennifer McCoy, former director of the Carter Center's Americas Program congratulates the members of the Forum on their persistent dedication to the project: in engaging in dialogue sessions and in taking the forum's work back to their own countries.

Day 3:  President Carter joined the dialogue and presided over meetings with Patrick M. Ward, deputy director of the Office for National Drug Control Policy, and Maria Otero, the undersecretary for democracy and global affairs of the U.S. Department of State. President Carter and the forum members presented their recommendations.

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Briefing Book:
Third Meeting
Washington, D.C.
Sept. 29-30,
Oct. 1, 2010
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